The Black Photography Aesthetic: an interview with photographer Dominque Washington

Posted on

By JR Valrey, The Minister of Information

Photography is one of my favorite art forms because I admire how a photographer is able to capture a moment, and allow that moment to tell a story for possibly a lifetime. At one point taking a photograph was innovative technology, now we just take it for granted, but photography is a big part of our lives even if we just look at all of the graphics and advertisements that we consume on a daily basis. So it is important that the Black community have photographers that can tell our stories, from a Black political and cultural lens that is able to capture the true dignified beauty in who we have been, who we are, as well as who we need to become to push humanity being in tune with the environment forward. 

Dominique “Domo” Washington of Infinite Imprints Photography is a photographer, that I had met at D’Wayne Wiggins’ Compound in East Oakland, which has recently been closed down. She was there week after week, working on her craft. She would shoot the independent artists who would come through weekly to display their talent, effectively preserving the great history of a legendary underground East Oakland venue. Check out Dominque in her own words. 

JR Valrey: What and/or who inspired you to become a photographer?

Dominique Washington: I’ve had a camera in my hand since I could remember. My mom, early on, would let me play with cameras. I remember being 9 at my uncle’s mom’s house and she would tell me to record on the old school handheld vivitar, and every year I got to look back at tapes I created from parties.

JR Valrey: What made you turn it into a business? 

Dominique Washington: I was honestly tired of working for someone else. I felt like I was always one of the best workers or employees every time I went to a job, then I realized no matter how well I work I’d never get the recognition or the pay, so I remember I called my mom during a work shift and asked her if it was ok for me to focus on photography. She gave me her blessing. I quit my job a few minutes later after we got off the phone. I was out of work for 6 months until I got frustrated. I didn’t have a proper plan, so I returned to another job, then the pandemic hit, and gave me the clarity and the ultimate push that I needed to make what I love work for me. 

JR Valrey: What kind of cameras do you like? Why?

Dominique Washington: I’m definitely a Nikon kid and I grew up using a Canon. I feel like most people do, and it was like the first time I had a Nikon, it felt like I saw the world differently. Everything just made sense to me. The Nikon fit in my hand like the perfect glove, and every time I get a camera, it’s an updated Nikon. 

JR Valrey: What is your biggest accomplishment as a photographer?

Dominique Washington: My biggest accomplishment thus far as a photographer is the connections I’m making. If I don’t truly connect and make someone feel something, then I’m not doing my job. I’ve been blessed to work alongside Dwayne Wiggins of Toni Tony Tone, and I’ve been able to constantly shoot events for Small Stages every Monday this year, so to have someone see something in me was a major accomplishment as well as I was blessed to accompany Brandon Leake, America’s Got Talent season 15 winner out of state to do behind the scenes work in Portland as well as behind the scenes work for his album “Level” that him and Black Chakra worked on. 

JR Valrey: What kind of events do you regularly shoot?

Dominique Washington: I mostly shoot event photography, whether that be a pop up shop, or a venue like the Compound where local artists come out and showcase their talents. such as 

JR Valrey: Do you have any sales going on during the winter?

Dominique Washington: I currently have a holiday sale for a $125 photoshoot to be purchased by December 20th, but can be used 3 months after the date. 

JR Valrey: What is the biggest thing that you want to do as a photographer?

Dominique Washington: I would like to be able to travel more for photography. At times, I feel stuck in the bay, I would like to shoot more behind the scenes of movies and concerts. I go see  J. Cole almost every time he’s out here, one day I plan to shoot on stage alongside him. 

JR Valrey: What is the difference in feeling between black and white photography and color, in your opinion?

Dominique Washington: Personally I love black and white photography. I can’t stand color. To me color doesn’t tell much of a story. If you look at black and white photos, you have to see what the person is trying to convey. There’s more drama, emotion, and nostalgia in a black and white photo to me. Color photography is nice but you already see everything on hand, and sometimes color can distract you from what you should be focusing on .

JR Valrey: How do people see your work and get online with you?

Dominique Washington: a good way to stay in contact with me is by Instagram and email. I also have my website in my bio, where you can book a photo shoot with me, or a simple dm will work as well.  

 

Dominique can be reached at @infiniteimprintsphotography or through email at infiniteimprints03@gmail.com.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *